Everything can be “recycled”, we just have to learn it properly!

Nowadays, the growing global environmental problems are forcing us to reflect on their consequences, while at the same time forcing us to look for ways and ways to protect our environment. Wastes of various kinds, eg. municipal, industrial, bio-waste and so on. Waste accumulation includes a number of negatives. Their solution is to find new ways of using individual types of waste.

Waste is generated in every human activity, in the production and consumer sectors. Their emergence and the accumulation of the notion of significant interference with the environment. Waste contains substances that often compromise virtually all components of the environment, e.g. water, air and soil. They penetrate the plants and through the food chain while endangering health and often life.

When we use all possibilities how to avoid unnecessary waste, we dispose of garbage in municipal waste. Many people have already understood that throwing everything into a black container and exporting it to a dump is not the best solution. In order to reuse waste as a secondary raw material, it needs to be sorted first. Recycling is now “in” and therefore most of us have nice colored waste separation containers at home. 

Someone only separates glass, newspapers, and PET bottles, and someone also unpacks the envelope from the pay slip to recycle the plastic window separately. However, statistics speak clearly. Slovak people do not recycle a lot.
If we dumped an average municipal waste container on the ground and only handled everything by hand, only 4% would go to the landfill. Everything else could still be reviewed and recycled in some way.

In Bratislava, you can even throw classic metal cans and other small metal waste into mixed waste, as this material is then sorted out with strong magnets in the incinerator. However, not aluminum beverage cans – they only belong to a yellow plastic container. 

Recycling is a process of reusing previously used materials and products (e.g. recycling of paper, colour and other metals, glass, plastics and tires.) It also prevents waste of resources, reduces the consumption of natural materials, the amount of waste stored and energy consumption, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.. 

Therefore recycling is a procedure of returning waste to production where it serves as a raw material in the acquisition of new products or as a source of energy and heat.

Recycling 100 tons of paper saves 1 hectare of 100-year-old forest, and recycling of 1 kg of scrap iron saves 4 kg of ore. It’s worth the effort. Also, compared to primary sources, recycling also saves a lot of energy. For glass, 25%, 70% for paper, 74% for metals, 95% for aluminum and 97% for incredible plastics.

Slovakia is committed to increasing recycling rates from the current 11-13% to 50% by 2020. But to do this we all have to get together and start at our homes. And how do we do it? The basis is to follow the so-called recycling symbols on most products and packaging.

The material tag can be displayed as a digit in the arrow triangle, as an abbreviation for the arrow triangle, or a combination of both.

GLASS

Glass is one of the oldest materials used and its history dates back 3000 years to ancient Egypt. It is produced by melting from high-silica sand (glass sand), has inert properties and its advantage is practically unlimited number of recycling cycles (it is perfect recycling and thus the same new bottle can be made from the old bottle). 
Glass shards in glass production replace glass sand and reduce the amount of melting energy required by 25%. The GREEN COLOUR containers serve for glass separation.

PAPER

The paper is very recyclable, but with every recycling cycle its fibers are shortened and can be recycled up to seven times. By recycling it we save forests and reduce the amount of chemicals discharged into the air during production. BLUE COLOUR containers are used for paper separation.

PLASTICS

By separating them, we save primary resources – oil, and also energy for mining. The disadvantage is that plastic recycling is not perfect. The recycled PET bottle will never be a PET bottle. 
The plastic is crumbled into flakes or processed into fibers and used as a blend in the manufacture of a bench or fleece jacket. But here it is combined with another material and therefore it will no longer be recyclable. 
So the next step is the landfill. YELLOW COLOURS containers are used for plastic separation. After their removal, there is still manual sorting on a sorting line where PET bottles, aluminum cans, tetrapaks and metal are separated.

METALS

Metal packaging can be recycled very efficiently. You can most often encounter aluminum (ALU) in the form of beverage cans and iron (FE) in the form of cans. For the collection of this type of waste, either RED COLOR separate containers are used or collected together with plastic in yellow containers. In Bratislava, you can even throw classic metal cans and other small metal waste into mixed waste, as this material is subsequently sorted out with strong magnets in the incinerator. 
However, not aluminum beverage cans – they only belong to a yellow plastic container. In addition, according to the latest information, the thermal incineration of thin-walled aluminum (aluminum foil, aluminum chocolate wrappers, yoghurt caps etc.) is no longer in operation in the Bratislava incinerator, so you can only bring these to the collection yard.

Nápojové kartóny

These containers are referred to as multilayer composite materials – MCM. They are labeled with the C / PAP recycling label, where C means that it is a combined material and the highest proportion of material is placed after the slash. Their recycling is complicated, since they have been composed of multiple bonded layers (from the outside, from paper, foil, and aluminum on the inside). These wastes are not directly recycled for the purpose of obtaining the original raw material, but are recovered from the material and produced, for example, by building material. The most famous type of VKM packaging is TetraPak and PurePak.

Beverage cartons are usually collected together with plastic in yellow containers (e.g., Bratislava). You can also meet with their collection in special orange containers, eventually with collection with paper in blue container.

But how is it with all others, which usually ends up in a mixed waste container?

Toilet paper rolls and kitchen towels: they are mixed waste as they are made from recycled paper several times and can no longer be recycled. Compost is even better.

Egg Case (Cardboard): belongs to mixed waste as it is made from recycled paper several times and can no longer be recycled. If you have the option, then compost it. Or inspire yourself on the Internet and breathe new life into it.   

Pizza box: belongs to mixed waste or compost as it is heavily soiled with grease. Alternatively, throw the cap into the paper container if the pizza is not touched and clean.

Mirror: belongs to mixed waste (small amount) or to a collection yard. It is not classical glass, as it is covered with an inseparable reflective layer from the back.

Food thermo packaging: If it is not greased, it belongs to the yellow plastic container. Otherwise mixed waste.

Polystyrene (eg, box-mounted reinforcement): belongs to a yellow plastic container (small quantity) or to a collection yard.

Coffee cup: the lid belongs to the yellow plastic container, the crucible itself to the mixed waste (it is a paper coated with a thin layer of plastic to be waterproof).

Used cooking oil: it is a hazardous waste and belongs to the collection yard. It can also be delivered at selected Slovnaft petrol stations or e.g. on regular Saturday markets in Stará Tržnica in Bratislava. Kitchen oil, which ends after being used in a sink or toilet, clogs the pipe and consequently significantly complicates and makes the cleaning of the wastewater treatment plant more expensive. If this oil goes into nature, it has the ability to pollute a huge amount of water (1 liter of cooking oil will destroy up to 1 million liters of water).

Used paper towels, kitchen towels and napkins: they are dirty and therefore belong to mixed waste or compost. They cannot be recycled.

Flashlights (AA, AAA, etc.): collection containers are located in electrical stores and even in many supermarkets.

Batteries and accumulators: it is a hazardous waste and belongs to the collection yard.

Electro waste: small electrical appliances, cables and chargers can be delivered in electrical shops. Large appliances can be handed over to a retailer when you buy a new appliance or take it to a collection yard.

Printer Toner: This is a hazardous waste and can be handed over for recycling to, for example, FaxCopy offices.

Burnt fluorescent lamps: you can turn them on in electric shops, luminaire shops, or in the yard. It is an electrical waste that contains hazardous chemicals.

Wastes from domestic chemistry (paints, solvents, washing powders, adhesives): this is a hazardous waste belonging to the collection yard.

Medicines: All unused medicines (even loaded) should be taken to a pharmacy where they are disposed of responsibly. If they get to the landfill, there is a risk of hazardous components leaking into the environment. 

Old mobile phone: you can hand it over in a shop or at any mobile operator.

Wood, furniture: you can take it to a collection yard or wait for a large-scale waste collection in your area (municipalities are obliged to organize it at least twice a year).

Small building waste: it belongs to the collection yard.

Biowaste: is a waste that is capable of anaerobic or aerobic degradation (eg food, food residues, gardeners’ products, egg shells, nuts, food after expiration, sewage sludge).

Agricultural and forestry waste: waste generated e.g. for logging, tree foliage. There is also a considerable amount of solid waste generated in large-scale livestock farming, e.g. straw, a stiff part of the feces, derived from uncalcined high-livestock housing and others. This waste group is particularly problematic because of its large volumes, but not its chemical composition.

Tires: belongs to the tire service or to the collection yard.

Textiles, Shoes: If they are still wearable, you can sell them on internet or donate to charity / shelter. If you have exhausted all these options, you can throw them into special containers for textiles (Ecocharity, Humana). All clothing must be clean and stored in plastic bags or bags. Always tie the shoes with a pair of laces. If the clothes are no longer wearing, you can get inspired on the internet and try to make something out of it. Alternatively, you can use it for rags.

Cash Blocks: Beware of thermal paper blocks. Thermopaper is not suitable for recycling as it contains fillers that prevent its decomposition. It also contains a range of hazardous chemicals, such as hazardous chemicals. bisphenol A (BPA) and its composting is not recommended either. 
It therefore belongs to mixed waste. And how do you recognize a receipt from thermal paper? If you put it on a hard surface, you can make it a visible line (depending on the type of thermal paper from one side, the other, or both). If you ever face a dilemma or are in a foreign city, GREENBIN mobile app will also help you with recycling.

Let’s not forget, however, that recycling is not the answer to the current problem of the waste world. The only answer can be to reduce the waste produced – even the recycled one.

© Mgr. Radoslav GONT, Envi-CARE GR s.r.o.

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